Development Strategies and International Trade Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara yesterday called on Ranil Wickremesinghe to resign as Prime Minister and also to step down from UNP leadership in the light of the heavy defeat suffered by the United National Party-led NDF candidate in the Presidential election.
Addressing a media briefing at the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry at the World Trade Centre, Colombo, yesterday, Bandara called for “an immediate change” in the UNP leadership following the electoral defeat.
He said the UNP should immediately hand over the reins of Government to the SLPP-led coalition to enable new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appoint his own Cabinet and implement his policies. “The Premier wants to discuss the matter with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa which makes it clear that Ranil Wickremesinghe is working according to a contract given by the rival party,” he added.
Bandara said he would resign as Bingiriya Organiser if the UNP leadership is not changed with immediate effect and has already sent a letter in this regard to UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. “I took the organizer post while the party was defeated in 2010. But now I thoroughly believe that a change should happen in the leadership – if not I would resign from my post.”
He said a newly revived UNP under a different leadership should begin a membership drive. He was. Bandara explaining the reasons for the defeat of the NDF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa said: “We believe that the April 21st Easter Attack was a major drawback for Sajith Premadasa’s campaign. Citizens lost confidence in the government. It is not a personal dispute between the voters and Sajith Premadasa. He had to pay on behalf of the whole Government. While we were running the Government there were ministers like Vajira Abeywardana and Wijeyedasa Rajapakshe who dragged their feet from inside the party.”
He said the Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) agreement was deliberately forwarded on the verge of the election to defeat Sajith Premadasa. “The MCC is not a malicious agreement, but it was brought out as an election trick to defeat our candidate.” He also pointed out that certain media institutions were biased and support was not gained for the election campaign. He added that funds received to run the election campaign were insufficient.
He also added that the Premier declaring that he will remain in his post even if Sajith Premadasa won before the postal vote was a great disadvantage for the NDF camp. Starting from the UNP leadership everyone should assist to build the party without lining one’s own pockets, he said.
(Source: Daily News – By Dinuli Francisco)